Staying Afloat: The Average Monthly Cost of Water by US States

From El Paso to San Francisco, the cost of water is rising. And like the tide coming in, if you don’t pay attention you can get caught out and cut off.

The price of water is climbing faster than inflation, and the average household water bill rose by 3.6% last year. If you’re unlucky to fall outside the average, you could have seen price hikes of 10% or more!

Since 2012, the price of water has risen by almost a third. This is a growing crisis, as poor families are increasingly struggling to afford water, or falling into debt to do so.

If you don’t want to get lost in a sea of debt, we’re here to bail you out.

Maybe you’re wondering how your water bill is even calculated?

Or where water is cheaper in the United States?

Well, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our deep dive into the average cost of water, all across the US.

Take a look and you’ll be sure to stay afloat!

Mapping The Monthly Cost of Water by US States

For water costs in your state, check out our map below. You’ll see how water costs compare across the country, from the big bucks of the West Coast to midwestern discounts.

Map of Monthly Average Water Bill in US States

No wonder the water cost is rising...

Just in case your geography isn't so hot. I've broken down all the numbers in a handy table below to help you figure out how costly the water is in your state:

US State

Average Water Bill (Per Month)

West Virginia

$91

California

$77

Oregon

$76

Washington

$75

New Jersey

$72

Connecticut

$69

Alaska

$68

Arizona

$64

Hawaii

$64

Wyoming

$53

Kentucky

$49

Delaware

$46

Maryland

$46

Tennessee

$43

Colorado

$39

Missouri

$39

Idaho

$38

Montana

$38

Utah

$38

Texas

$37

Virginia

$36

Oklahoma

$35

Massachusetts

$34

Florida

$33

South Carolina

$33

Iowa

$32

New Mexico

$32

Rhode Island

$32

North Dakota

$31

Pennsylvania

$31

Alabama

$30

Indiana

$30

New York

$30

North Carolina

$30

Michigan

$29

Georgia

$28

Minnesota

$28

Kansas

$27

New Hampshire

$27

Ohio

$27

Arkansas

$26

Illinois

$26

Nevada

$26

South Dakota

$26

Maine

$24

Mississippi

$23

Nebraska

$23

Louisiana

$21

Vermont

$18

Wisconsin

$18

Here’s your easy to read guide to water costs across America. If you’re looking to score a bargain on your water bill, look no further!

Methodology: How Is Your Water Bill Determined?

With water costs climbing to eye-watering rates, it’s more important than ever to understand how your water bill is being calculated. When you’re hit with higher water charges, you want to make sure you get what you pay for.

Water Usage

Fixed Rate: For the vast majority of US citizens, your water bill will be determined by how much water you use. But occasionally you’ll encounter utility companies offering a flat rate for water, regardless of usage.

As of 2021, a number of electricity suppliers are using this model to offer fixed-rate energy charges, but for now it’s relatively rare in the water industry. Suppliers find it hard to maximize profit under this model, and it hardly encourages efficient use of water when there’s no penalty for leaving the tap running!

Flat Rates: It’s more common for water companies to charge by the gallon. And sometimes this is as simple as it sounds - your water costs grow in a linear way, depending on how much water you consume. With a uniform rate, you know that every gallon costs the same as the last, so it’s easy to calculate what you’ll owe - and if you can afford that bath at the end of the month!

Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as 1 + 1 = 2! Water companies use a range of complicated pricing models to encourage particular consumer behavior. Increasing or decreasing block rates are the most common.

Increasing Block Rate: If you have an increasing block rate calculating your tariff, water gets more expensive, the more you use. For example, you could be charged at $1/gallon for the first hundred gallons you use - and then $1.50 for further water consumption.

In areas where water is scarce - particularly urban zones - increasing block rates are used to discourage excessive water consumption. If you’re on one of these plans, think carefully before you decide to fill the paddling pool!

Decreasing Block Rate: Although less common in urban areas, decreasing block rates are commonly found in rural areas where agricultural habits demand a lot of water. A decreasing block rate charges less per gallon once you start using a lot of water. For example, water might start at $1/gallon - and drop to $.75 after one hundred gallons, and $.50 after one thousand.

For city dwellers, it’s counterintuitive - but where water is plentiful this is a mechanism to allow water companies to make their profits without heavily penalizing those with higher water needs.

Local Cost of Water

Once you understand the rates water can cost, you’re one step closer to calculating your water bill. The local cost of water will be the final factor in determining what you pay.

Local water costs will vary from state to state or even from one zip code to the next. And they’re not stable all year round either. Seasonal fluctuations in supply might cause your utility company to charge more for water all summer long, whereas a sudden drought can cause water prices to spike.

And all across the United States, water prices are rising. The EPA now estimates that the average household water bill is over $1000 annually. Let’s take a closer look at the cost of water across the country.

Average Monthly Cost of Water by US States

With so much regional variation in the cost of water, it’s harder than ever to predict your water bill. If you’re worried your water bill will turn on the waterworks, here’s our exploration of water costs across the states.

Alabama

In Alabama, the average water price is $30/month. But your total water bill may include a sewer bill of $73 - taking the total bill to over $100.

In Birmingham, water costs grew by $5 between 2018 and 2019, and they’ve been growing ever since.

Alaska

Alaska has some of the most expensive utilities in North America. The average water bill is $68 and sewerage is $72.

Arizona

As a desert state, you’d expect water rates to be higher. The average water cost in Arizona is $64 - and sewerage is an average of $43.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, the average water cost is $26 and sewerage comes to $37.

Alaska

Alaska has some of the most expensive utilities in North America. The average water price is $68 and sewerage is $72.

California

The cost of living in California is some of the highest in the country. The average water price is $77 and $59 for sewerage. In California, there’s a growing crisis around water debt as those in poor communities struggle to keep up with price hikes. 

One in every eight households in California is in arrears with water payments.

Total debt hit $1bn in January 2021 and over 150,000 households owe more than $1000.

Water costs are rising in every city in California. In Los Angeles prices were hiked by an average of $4.46, in San Jose they climbed $9.13 and in San Francisco, they grew by a whopping $12.83.

Colorado

In water-rich Colorado, the average water cost is $39 and sewerage is $59

In Denver, the average monthly household bill grew by almost $2 between 2018 and 2010, outpacing inflation.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, the average water cost is $69 and it’s $73 for sewer costs.

Delaware

The average water and sewer costs are $46 and $79 respectively in Delaware.

Florida

Low rates remain in Florida where the average water bill is $33. Sewerage is an average of $65.

However, water prices are growing in Charlotte County where the average annual cost of water is $545.52!

Georgia

Some of the cheapest utilities in the country are in the South. In Georgia, the average water bill is $28, although sewerage is a hefty $87.

Hawaii

Despite being surrounded by water, it doesn’t come cheap in Hawaii. The average water charge is $64, and it’s $60 for sewerage.

Idaho

In Idaho, the average water cost is $38 but sewage comes to a whopping $95.

Illinois

Cheap rates still abound in Illinois - where the average water bill is $26 and sewerage is the same.

Indiana

The average water cost in Indiana is $30 and $63 for sewerage.

Iowa

Iowa is a cheap state for water thanks to high agricultural consumption. Water prices average at $32 and sewerage averages at $33.

Kansas

Midwestern rates remain relatively low - in Kansas, the average water price is $27 and sewage is $29.

Kentucky

In Kentucky, the average water bill is $49 and sewerage is $46

Good news for Kentuckians though - the average water price fell by almost $2 in Louisville between 2018 and 2019.

Louisiana

Louisiana swamps mean low water rates, with the average bill at $21 but sewerage bills are high at $99.

Maine

Average water prices in Maine are just $24, whilst sewage bills are around $67.

Maryland

In Maryland, water prices average at $46 and sewerage is $83

The cost of water is soaring in Baltimore, where the average water and wastewater bill climbed by $26.50 from 2018-2019, a rise of more than 50%.

Massachusetts

Water costs are relatively lower in Massachusetts at $34 and sewerage is an affordable $46.

Michigan

In Michigan, water bills average at $29 whilst sewerage is $44 on average.

Minnesota

In Minnesota the average water price is $28 and sewerage is $37.

Mississippi

In Missouri the average monthly water bill is $39 and sewage averages at $72.

Missouri

Alaska has some of the most expensive utilities in North America. The average water price is $68 and sewerage is $72.

Montana

The average monthly cost of water is $38 in Montana. On top of this, you can factor in an average of $47 for sewerage.

Nebraska

Relatively cheap utilities are found in Nebraska where the average monthly cost of water is $23, and sewerage is the same.

Nevada

Despite an arid climate, water costs are comparatively low in Nevada. The average monthly bill is $26 whilst sewerage adds $20 to your utilities bill.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the average monthly cost of water is $27. Sewerage is, on average, around another $43 each month.

New Jersey

Adjacent to New York City, New Jersey commands a high cost of living. This is reflected in utilities cost, and the average water cost is $72. Good infrastructure makes sewerage comparatively affordable at $29.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, the average water cost is $32 monthly and sewerage can add $21 to your total bills.

New York

In New York state, the average cost of water is $30 and sewerage comes to $47. However, there are wide regional variances across this state and in NYC itself costs are significantly higher. 

After two years of keeping prices constant, water rates are going to climb by 2.7% in New York City between 2021 and 2022.

North Carolina

Low rates abound in North Carolina, where the average monthly cost of water is $30 and sewerage is $47.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, the average monthly water bill is $31 whilst sewerage comes to $27.

Ohio

The Ohio River marks the boundary between the south and the midwest of the United States, but crossing this river doesn’t do much to water rates. The average monthly water bill in Ohio is low at $27, whilst sewerage averages at $32

Despite low costs, the price of water is a rising tide in Ohio. In Cleveland, the average water cost grew by almost $9 in one year.

Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the average water price is $35, and sewerage adds $33 to the average utility bill.

Oregon

Water bills are a whopping $76 on average, even in the rainy state of Oregon. Sewerage adds $122 to the average household bill.

Pennsylvania

You can find relatively low rates of utilities in Pennsylvania. Water bills average at $31 and sewerage comes to around $27 each month.

Rhode Island

As a small, coastal state you’d expect relatively low prices in Rhode Island. The average monthly cost of water is $32 whilst sewerage adds $42 to the monthly utility bill.

South Carolina

South Carolinian water bills average at an affordable $33, but sewerage costs $116 in this southern state.

South Dakota

Like its northern neighbor, South Dakota water costs are relatively low. The average monthly water bill is $26 and sewage adds just $33.

Tennessee

Tennessee diverges from southern trends and has relatively high water costs for the region. The average water cost is $43 whilst sewerage adds $87 to the average utility bill.

Texas

In Texas, the average water bill is $37 whilst sewerage is $66 - but rates vary dramatically across this expansive state. 

Ever the free spirit, Texas bucked the trend of rising water costs when the average water cost in Dallas dropped by a dollar fifty between 2018 and 2019.

In El Paso, however, the average water cost grew by $3 in the same period, and in Houston, water prices grew by over $4.

Utah

In Utah, the average water cost is $38. Sewerage averages at $101 each month.

Vermont

Although Vermont has a reputation for high cost of living, you won’t be scalped for your water here. The average monthly bill is just $18 whilst sewerage adds only $25.

Virginia

In Virginia, the average monthly water cost is $36. You can expect sewerage to add $31 to your total utility bill.

Washington

West coast Washington might be famous for its rain - but this doesn’t mean water comes cheap. The average monthly cost of water is $75, whilst sewage adds an average of $72 to your utility bill.

West Virginia

Water doesn’t come cheap in West Virginia. The average water cost is $91 and sewerage charges come to $92.

Wyoming

Wyoming water bills are, on average, $53. Sewerage in the cowboy state averages at $60 per month.

Ways To Cut Your Water Bill

Water charges vary radically across the United States, but wherever you are there are ways to save. Even in states with affordable water, it’s worth tightening your belt when it comes to your utilities.

Few people have a choice over their water provider - that means you can’t shop around for a better deal. Instead of this consumer tactic, here are some top tips for reducing your water bill to a trickle.

Shorten Your Showers

Across the United States, showerheads are limited to a water pressure of 2.5 gallons per minute - this is an industry-standard water-saving measure. But 2.5 gallons is still a lot of water - in fact, it’s more than you’d drink in two days.

Long showers are one of life’s great luxuries but don’t zone out in the shower. Every minute is adding dollars to your water bill.

Fix Leaky Faucets

A leaky faucet might seem like a drop in the ocean - but multiply that drop by minutes, hours, and days. Learning to see leaky faucets, showerheads, washing machines and toilets as money down the drain - get leaks fixed as soon as you spot them.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a showerhead leaking ten drips per minute can waste over 500 gallons a year. Wasting water hurts your wallet.

Upgrade Your Appliances

According to the EPA, you could reduce your water usage by 20% by upgrading to water-efficient appliances and fixtures. If you’re on a flat rate water plan, that’s 20% savings right away.

The EPA launched the WaterSense partnership scheme to help brands advertise their green credentials. From water filter systems to washing machines, look out for the WaterSense logo.

There are so many ways to save water - here are 170 top tips from our archive! Don’t waste money down the drain!

Conclusion

Whether you’re splashing about in cheaper water states such as Florida or ruing water price rises on the West Coast, you have to understand your water bill. As water prices rise faster than inflation, we’re all spending more than ever on our daily water needs. 

Water is a basic human need, and from showers to hydration, we consume a lot of it going about our day-to-day.

But in this life, nothing comes for free. Managing your water bill is something everyone needs to face - and when it’s time to tighten your belt you can save a few cents by tightening the faucet as well.

Don’t get caught in the rising tide of water bills - reduce your water consumption and understand your water bills to stay afloat.

Sources

  • How Much Is the Average Water Bill, and What Can I Afford? Retrieved from NerdWallet
  • How Much Does the Average Water Bill Cost? Retrieved from Moving.com
  • Water costs are rising across the U.S. — here's why. Retrieved from CBS News
  • California households owe $1bn in water bills as affordability crisis worsens. Retrieved from The Guardian
  • Price of Water 2018: Utilities Revise Household Water Rate Formulas. Retrieved from CircleOfBlue
  • Understanding Your Water Bill. Retrieved from EPA
  • Water Prices By State 2021. Retrieved from WorldPopulationReview

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